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5 Stone Cutting

Techniques and Projects:


Plus Bonus Dopping Tips

Cabochon, Faceting, Inlay, Slabbing, Trim Saw Setup

CABOcHON, FAcETING, INLAY, SLABBING, TRIM SAW SETUp

5 STONE CUTTING TEcHNIQUEs AND PROJEcTs:


Plus Bonus Dopping Tips

SET UP YOUR TRiM SAW DESiGNER RUBy CABOCHON WiTH DOPPiNG TiPS
BY AHNa V. WHite

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BY StepHeN TaNeY

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GOLDEN OVAL FACET DESiGN
BY Jim PeRKiNs

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INLAiD CUff
BY Jeff FUlKeRsoN

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SUCCESSfUL SLABBiNG
BY StepHeN TaNeY

EVeRY piece of Gem RoUGH is diffeReNt, with many different


potential gem cuts sitting inside it just waiting for you to bring it to the light of day. Whether you intend to set a stone in jewelry or display it proudly on a shelf, and whether the lapidary rough is transparent to opaque, all the same or elaborately patterned, in brilliant colors or the softest of earth tones, the rst question to ask is: whats the best way to cut this stone? In this exceptional lapidary eBook, youll nd ve approaches to gem cutting that will help you learn how to best take advantage of all kinds of gemstones and put your cabochon units, faceting machines, lapidary saws, and more to good use. See how a piece of patterned stone containing ruby mixed with other materials progresses from gem rough to nished cabochon, with details of the wheels and polishing compounds used at each stageplus great tips for dopping your stone. Find complete cutting sequences for an oval cut created to

take advantage of an unusually long, thin piece of quartz faceting rough. In a fully illustrated, step-by-step project for making an inlaid silver cuff, take in the loads of ideas and techniques available for creating dramatic stone mosaics and how to custom t them into a piece of jewelry. And discover valuable tips and techniques for slabbing chunks of rock into slices suitable for cabbing, and excellent information on how to set up your lapidary saw in the rst place. From rough gem to nal polish, 5 Stone Cutting Techniques and Projects: Cabochon, Faceting, Inlay, Slabbing, Trim Saw Setup Plus Bonus Dopping Tips will tell you what lapidary tools and equipment youll need and shows you how to get there. Its a fabulous sampling for any lapidary or any jewelry maker who wants to do their own rock cutting and create cabochons, faceted stones and more! !

Merle White Editor-in-Chief, Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

This premium has been published by Interweave, 201 E. Fourth St., Loveland, CO 80537-5655; (970) 669-7672. Copyright 2010 by Interweave Press LLC, a division of Aspire Media, all rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced either in whole or in part without consent of the copyright owner.

INTERWEAVE NOT TO BE REPRiNTED ALL RiGHTS RESERVED

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CABOcHON, FAcETING, INLAY, SLABBING, TRIM SAW SETUp

5 STONE CUTTING TEcHNIQUEs AND PROJEcTs:


Plus Bonus Dopping Tips

Designer Ruby Cabochon with Dopping Tips


Slab and cab a striking stone
BY AHNa V. WHite
SKILLs n cabbing machine use

h, Ruby, the Queen of gemstones it isnt just for faceted stones, anymore. Deeply colored but translucent to opaque material also occurs that can make great cabochons sometimes with interesting patterns courtesy of other materials found with the ruby. After examining the front and back of my slab, I decided to create a freeform design over the entire stone to make a designer cabochon. What is a designer cabochon, you ask? It means that you have used the best part of the stone in terms of the design in the rock to create an exceptional cab. A regular, plain oval cabochon usually comes from chopping the slab up to yield the most cabs with the least waste, so nding a stone with carefully positioned markings is rare. I use a Diamond Pacic Genie with 6 wheels (3 grinders and 3 polishers, with polishing pad at the end). You may only have 4 wheels and that will work as wellbut for this project Ill refer to wheel #1, #2, #3 and so on. Each wheel will make your cabochon smoother and smoother. Its hard to gauge how much time to spend on each wheelthe harder the material, the longer it will take. Whats most important is that your movements are quick and smooth. This skill is something that will develop over time.

OpeNiNg PHoto: AHNa V. WHite ProJect PHotos: AHNa V. WHite

FiNER GRiNDiNG
Grinding takes a little bit of practice to perfect. Some stones are harder than others and will take longer to shapeyou need to decide which angle works best for you. Try holding the cabochon with the face to the wheel, or holding the cab so its side is at the wheel to see which way works best for you.

ORiGiNALLy PUBLiSHED iN LAPiDARy JOURNAL jEWELRy ARTiST, MAy 2008

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CABOcHON, FAcETING, INLAY, SLABBING, TRIM SAW SETUp

5 STONE CUTTING TEcHNIQUEs AND PROJEcTs:


Plus Bonus Dopping Tips

M AT E R I A L s Rough rock or slab Acrylic caulking 2 x 4 or wood chunks TOOL s Trim saw, cabbing machine, X-acto knife, permanent ink pen or pencil, dopping wax, sticks, heat source, chromium oxide OPTIONAL: Cabochon template SOURCEs Most of the tools and materials for this project will be available from well stocked lapidary supply vendors.

SAFETY FIRST!
Before working, be sure youve been trained and understand how to use a trim saw, you know to follow all safety guidelinesand wear your safety glasses!

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wax hardens. Set cabochon aside to dry for about 15 minutes.
PHOTO 4 Start on wheel #1. Grind off any

4 SAWiNG SUCCESS
I recommend using a green or a black sintered blade to cut ruby. Examine the rock to determine how wide to make your rst cutting pass. Never force the rock into the blade, use medium pressure, and take your time.

PHOTO 1 Apply a good amount of caulk

to top of 2 x 4 and set stone in place. Using ngers, fan out caulking over 2 x 4 and up the rock at least 14". Let dry for at least 48 hours.
PHOTO 2 Make a rst sawing pass on ruby

to create at surface wide enough and long enough to make desired cabochon shape. Make second pass, about 9mm wide, to create a small slab.
PHOTO 3 Use a pencil or permanent ink pen

material you were unable to cut away with trim saw. Lay stone face-down and at on table, and with pencil or permanent ink pen, run a line all the way around cabochon edge about 2mm from top. Return to wheel #1, tilt cabochon at an angle, and grind away until you reach line.
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and cabochon template to trace desired shape onto slab; if preferred, draw shape freehand. For darker stone such as ruby, I use a silver or gold permanent marker that can be bought at a local craft store.
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 Move to wheel #2 to smooth out edge you created with edge of cabochon facing wheel.  se a rotating up and down motion all the way U around; this is making the dome. Grind along at surface of both sides and cab top.  ontinue process on all remaining wheels. Final C step is a high gloss nish with chromium oxide. Remove dopping wax. If youre going to set the cabochon with a backplate, there really is no need to polish the back since it will not show.

If youre creating an open-back setting or will be wire wrapping the cabochon, I recommend polishing the back. To do so, repeat the entire process on your cabbing machine for the back. AHNA V. WHITE is the creative force behind www.ArtCreated.com, a wide-ranging jewelry and crafts site. She has studied photography at CCAC in Oakland, California, stained glass in Morgan Hill, California, and metalsmithing at Butte College, California.
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Lay slab at on trim saw deck and cut as closely to outlines as possible to remove excess stone. While dopping wax is melting, heat cabochon. Dip dop stick into melted wax and place on back of cabochon, then hold stick in place while

DESIGNER RUBY CABOCHON BY AHNA V. WHITE

CABOcHON, FAcETING, INLAY, SLABBING, TRIM SAW SETUp

5 STONE CUTTING TEcHNIQUEs AND PROJEcTs:


Plus Bonus Dopping Tips

DOPPING TIPS

CO N V E N TIO N AL D O P P I N G
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Dopping the cabochon once its trimmed allows greater control over the shaping and also keeps your ngers a safe distance from the spinning wheel on the cabbing machine. Youll need a heat source to melt the wax. You can buy a heat source from a lapidary outlet or you can use things found around the house. I rigged up a small 3" x 3", non-stick cake pan I had in the kitchen, and I have a fragrance oil burner that uses tea lights to create a wax melter. Use the melter on a re-safe surface such as rebrick. Make sure not to get any wax onto the sides of the cabochon because wax can easily clog your grinding wheels. This is a little trickyyou dont want to burn yourselfbut I very quickly pat the wax down, usually about 1 minute after Ive put the wax in place to help make it more stable. There are several methods used to heat a cabochonhere are two. In a frying pan on low heat, set the cab in a cup of hot water. You can also use a hair dryer. For dopping sticks for very small cabochons, Ive cut up some kabob skewers. For larger cabochons, I use 12" round wood dowels found at a local hardware store in the trim department. I cut them into 3-4" lengths.

OFF THE DOP


Heres a great trick for removing wax once youve completed your stone: ice water! Fill a bowl with cold water and several ice cubes, and place your cabochon in the bowl for about 10 minutes. Hold both the cabochon and the stick and break off the waxit usually takes the entire wax area off. If it doesnt, add more ice to your water or leave the cabochons for another 5 to 10 minutes. Any remaining wax can be removed with an X-acto knifeagain, always cut away from yourself and your ngers!

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U N CO N V E N TIO N AL D O P P I N G
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Normally, I begin by gluing my rough to something stable, a process known as dopping. Usually, its a rough cut cabochon that gets dopped using wax and a wooden stick for easier manipulation on the cabbing machine, but when the rock is large, a stick would just fall off from the force of cutting. So I asked my husband to cut up a wooden 2 x 4 into 4" lengths. This gives me plenty of room to glue down the rock as well as a safe amount of wood to hold onto, as Im cutting by hand. Of course, if you have an automated cutting saw, you may use that. I have 2 saws, a 6" trim saw, and a 14" slab saw. The 14" slab saw is much too aggressive for this small rock, so I prefer to use my trim saw.

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For the glue, I use acrylic latex caulking with silicone, available at any hardware store. This product is a bit rubbery and will allow me to remove the remainder of the rock once Im done cutting, so nothing goes to waste. To release the remaining rock glued to the 2 x 4, I use a sharp X-acto knife to cut into the caulking. Always cut away from yourself. Most of the caulk can be removed from the stone just by pulling it off. Its important to remove as much as possible because you dont want to grind caulk on your cabbing machine, as it could clog your wheels.
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DESIGNER RUBY CABOCHON BY AHNA V. WHITE

CABOcHON, FAcETING, INLAY, SLABBING, TRIM SAW SETUp

5 STONE CUTTING TEcHNIQUEs AND PROJEcTs:


Plus Bonus Dopping Tips

OpeNiNg PHoto: JIM LAWSON PROJECT PHotos: STEPHEN TANEY

Trim Saw Setup


Get off to a good start with your gem rough
BY STEPHEN TANEY

he lapidary slab or trim saw is a roughing tool. It is important to remember that getting the best surface finish on a slab in the beginning will help make subsequent grinding and polishing operations easier. When you get a new blade or are switching a blade on your saw, you should begin by truing it to the arbor, or making the saw blade as perpendicular to the axis of the drive shaft as possible. A perpendicular setup will ensure that the blade wont wobble while rotating on the drive arbor, which will minimize vibration as well. This procedure can be used on any size saw, but my methods may need to be modified to your particular saw. For

this demo, I will be using a reconditioned 18" Highland Park saw.


Begin by breaking down saw. First, unplug it. This is the most important safety precaution. Its not necessary to drain lubricant out of saw, but it will keep mess down. Remove saw, blade, nut, and anges. Inspect anges for rust and pits. Sand them clean and shiny if they need it.
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 I place a sheet of silicon wet or dry sandpaper (200 to 400 grit) on a at surface, either a plate of glass a piece of Formica countertop. I sand in a circular motion to remove any high spots on the metal and to make the surface at. You want to create maximum contact with the ange to the blade, because the anges add to the blade stiffness.

ORiGiNALLy PUBLiSHED iN LAPiDARy JOURNAL jEWELRy ARTiST, NOVEMBER 2008

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CABOcHON, FAcETING, INLAY, SLABBING, TRIM SAW SETUp

5 STONE CUTTING TEcHNIQUEs AND PROJEcTs:


Plus Bonus Dopping Tips

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Inspect arbor where anges are mounted. Use a Scotch-Brite pad to clean up any dirt or rust.
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a slab. This will prevent vise and indicator from moving too much while readings are made.
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 ont use sandpaper here unless the shaft is D really bad. Over time, sanding the shaft could change the t of the blade to arbor tolerance, and then the shaft would need to be replaced.

Replace saw blade and both anges and hand tighten nut.
PHOTO 1 To true blade, rst set up dial

indicator in saw vise as shown. Open vise to maximum and place magnetic base of indicator on oor of vise as shown. Engage half nut to drive shaftas if you were going to saw M AT E R I A L s Scotch-Brite pad; sandpapers; clean rags Black marker; acetone or alcohol; shim stock TOOL s Trim saw and blade, dial indicator, trenches SOURCEs Most of the tools and materials for this project will be available from well stocked lapidary supply vendors.

f you have the carriage on a weighted system, I then you may have to devise a method so that the vise will not move. A C clamp and a couple of pieces of wood may workand you wont need anything more than hand tightening for the clamp. If your saw has no vise, clamp a piece of steel to the tray with a C clamp for a magnetic base.

multiple spots, choose the worst one. Once located, reset dial indicator to zero by rotating bezel. Make a legible arrow on blade with marker at chosen spot.
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PHOTO 2 Dial indicator should have at least

.050" sweep on face, although a full .100" would be better.


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 Clean the spot with acetone or alcohol rst, so the marker makes a clear, easily seen mark. Prep some shim stockit can be made from small pieces of cardboard from the backs of legal pads, credit cards cut into strips, or feeler gauges from the auto parts storemy personal favorites.

Th  ese indicators come in many styles. Some are very expensive and precise but are not needed here. The tolerances here will be +/- .015" range under optimum conditions. The magnetic base dial indicators can be bought through machine tool suppliers for around $30 to $50.

PHOTO 3 Position dial indicator stem so it

touches saw blade body but not at abrasive diamond tip. If you have one, use advancing handle of vise to ne tune adjustment. Once indicator is positioned and youre sure components wont shift, begin truing the blade. Grasp pulley by hand and slowly rotate saw blade. Observe hand on dial indicator. Watch for point where saw blade is farthest left of indicator. You might need to repeat this step a few times to see this point. If there are

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TRiM SAW SETUP BY STEPHEN TANEY

CABOcHON, FAcETING, INLAY, SLABBING, TRIM SAW SETUp

5 STONE CUTTING TEcHNIQUEs AND PROJEcTs:


Plus Bonus Dopping Tips

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PHOTO 4 Without moving saw blade, loosen

nut (hence only hand tightening). Reach to opposite side of saw blade where ange and blade meet, and place rst shim. Hand tighten.
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 otice I didnt say what size shim to use? This N will depend on the distance the blade needs to move, and what size blade is in the saw.

to get smallest deviation possible. We are looking for something around +/- .016" for a reasonable tolerancetry for better if possible. If your blade is new, this should be easy. If a new blade is badly warped, you should return it for a replacement. Tighten saw blade when you are satised. Go only about 14 of a turn past hand tightening.
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Reset zero on indicator. Rotate blade at least 1 rotation by hand again without moving vise and dial setup. Go back to rst mark and see what dial reads. Is it more or less? If its more, add a larger shim or add more shims to it. If it goes past zero on dial, shim is too large, so replace with thinner one.
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O  vertightening your blade will cause it to distort and nullify all your careful work. Tighten only enough to prevent the blade from slipping and so the anges do not warp the blade.

 is procedure gets easier once youve done it a Th few times. Remember earlier I mentioned that there can be several high spots on the blade? These will sometimes correct as each one is addressed.

Check deviation once more before plugging in saw. STEPHEN TANEY has been stonecutting for more than 15 years. Bringing out the natural beauty of a stone is one of the things he loves most about his work. He holds a B.F.A. in sculpture from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Rotate blade by hand and watch indicator

TRiM SAW SETUP BY STEPHEN TANEY

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Golden Oval
Make use of those long skinny stones
BY JIM PERKINS
SKILLs
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 nderstanding of basic u faceting techniques

his design was inspired by a piece of Oro Verde citrine rough given to me by a friend who wasnt sure what to do with it. The stone had a very odd shape and was very thin. Frankly, I wasnt sure what to do with it myself at the time, but then the idea of cutting this stone popped into my head and I sat down and created the design. It is a reasonably easy and enjoyable design to cut because it is a little different than typical ovals. Although the design was intended for quartz, it could be used to cut material with a higher refractive index without any adjustments to the angles, and of course material with higher R.I. would perform better. The most important thing is to cut it from material with 50% saturation or less in order to achieve good performance.

JIM PERKINS began to cut stones at age 12 in his fathers rock shop. He studied art and design at Cuyahoga Valley Art Center and at the University of Akron, and faceting at William Holland School of Lapidary Arts. He has published several books, including Learning to Facet in the 21st Century using the Fac-ette and Learning to Facet in the 21st Century using the Facetron.
ORiGiNALLy PUBLiSHED iN LAPiDARy JOURNAL jEWELRy ARTiST, OCTOBER 2008

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CABOcHON, FAcETING, INLAY, SLABBING, TRIM SAW SETUp

5 STONE CUTTING TEcHNIQUEs AND PROJEcTs:


Plus Bonus Dopping Tips

T TC1 P4 P1 C1 P1 P3 P3 L L P1 P1 P3 P3 P1 P1 P2 P2 P6 P6 P4 P4P5 P5 C6 C6 C2 C2

PAV I L I O N Facet Angle PAV I L I O N Facet Angle


P2 P1 P3 P2 P4 P3 P5 P4 P6 P5 P7 P6 P8 P7 P9 P8 P10 P9 P10 90.00 43.70 42.30 90.00 42.80 42.30 90.00 42.80 41.00 90.00 42.60 41.00 90.00 42.60 43.80 90.00 90.00 43.80 90.00 P1 43.70

Index
02-46-50-94

Comments Comments
Create a center point Set size; level girdle Create a center point Meet points (MP) at center point Set size; level girdle MP at p2-p3 Meet points (MP) at center point MP at p2-p3 MP at p2-p3 MP at p3-p4 MP at p2-p3 MP at p4-p5 MP at p3-p4 MP at p5-p6 MP at p4-p5 MP at p6-p7 MP at p5-p6 MP at p8-p9 MP at p6-p7 MP at p8-p9

P P

Index

P4 P6 P6

02-46-50-94 02-46-50-94 04-44-52-92 02-46-50-94 06-42-54-90 04-44-52-92 06-42-54-90 06-42-54-90 10-38-58-86 06-42-54-90 12-36-60-84 10-38-58-86 12-36-60-84 12-36-60-84 20-28-68-76 12-36-60-84 20-28-68-76 20-28-68-76 20-28-68-76

P10 P7 P9 P8 P10 P7 P8

P9

W W

CROWN Facet Angle CROWN Facet Angle


C2 C1 C3 C2 C4 C3 C5 C4 C6 C5 C7 C6 C8 C7 C9 C8 C10 C9 C10 38.20 40.40 35.80 38.20 28.20 35.80 26.10 28.20 34.00 26.10 15.20 34.00 9.00 15.20 17.20 9.00 0.00 17.20 0.00 C1 40.40

Index
02-46-50-94

Comments Comments
Set girdle height Set girdle height Set girdle height Set girdle height Set girdle height Set girdle height Set girdle height Girdle meet point Set girdle height Girdle meet point Girdle meet point MP at c1-c1 Girdle meet point MP at c2-c3 MP at c1-c1 MP at c4-c4 MP at c2-c3 MP at c5-c6 MP at c4-c4 MP at c5-c6

Index

06-42-54-90 02-46-50-94 12-36-60-84 06-42-54-90 20-28-68-76 12-36-60-84 18-30-66-78 20-28-68-76 04-44-52-92 18-30-66-78 96-48 04-44-52-92 10-38-58-86 96-48 24-72 10-38-58-86 Table 24-72 Table

54 60 66 66 72 72 78 78 84 84 90 90 60 54

48 48

42 42 36 36 30 30

C10 C10 C7 C1 C7 C1 <96> <96>


October 2008

C9

C5 24 C8 C9 C4 C3 18 C2 C5 C6 C8 C3 18 C6 C2 12 6 6 12

C4

24

GOLDEN OVAL BY JIM PERKINS

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Jewelry Artist

47

CABOcHON, FAcETING, INLAY, SLABBING, TRIM SAW SETUp

5 STONE CUTTING TEcHNIQUEs AND PROJEcTs:


Plus Bonus Dopping Tips

Inlaid Cuff
Expand your repertoire with a classic technique
BY JeFF FULkersOn
SKILLs n soldering n fabrication n basic lapidary n stone polishing TImE IT TOOK This bracelet took me about 20 hours to complete, between the metal and the stone work. Youll need patience to get good results inlaying the stones, so go slow, and dont get discouraged if you cut a stone too small. Just get another piece and try it again.
OpeNiNg pHotos: Jim LawsoN ProJect PHotos: SpeNcer BraUN

love to make inlaid jewelry. You can create and design well enough with just metal, and if you add a cabochon or faceted stone, you expand your creativity around their shapes. When you cut and inlay your own stones, though, you not only make the metal conform to your will but also the stones. Your piece can be anything you can imagine! When buying your silver for this project, make sure you get the triangle wire as specied because it is different from other triangle wire in that it has sharp angles. When laid on its side, the wire I use gives you a reverse slope so that your channel gets wider as you go into it, allowing you to get a good, tight t when setting your stones. Dont be afraid to use this project only as a guide to get you started with inlay. You dont have to do all of the techniques like putting in dots or checkerboards on your rst try, and you certainly dont have to do it exactly like mine. Be creative. Mix and

match. With inlay, there are endless possibilities of shape, contour, contrast, height, depth and color. For this demo, Ill give you the basics for an inlaid bracelet, but with these techniques you can inlay stone into any channel you havea belt buckle, pendant, ring, or whatever. I like using both a at lap and a lapidary arbor. You can get a perfectly at cut on the at lap, which is great for gluing up stones. However, many people get along just ne with only an arboryou dont have to run out and buy a at lap. We will

not be using the typical lapidary technique of dopping our stones before shaping and polishing them. Instead, well use our ngers to hold the stones as we polish, so be very careful, especially on the at lap as youre grinding your pieces. You can rub your ngers up against the wet wheels, and it wont hurt, nothing happensat rst. However, you are still sanding away your skin, and all of a sudden you will notice blood on your piece and it will be yours! Dont ask me how I know this, but it hurts and takes a long time to heal. . . . Oh, and kiss your forenger and thumb nails good-bye. Ill assume you know how to polish stones already, so I wont dwell on getting a nice polish, but Contributing Editors Tom & Kay Benham have provided some tips (see the box How to Polish Stone with Condence). I call this bracelet Carthiamou (My Heart in Greek) for my wife, Roxanne, who is my inspiration. I hope it will inspire you to stretch yourself and expand your skills.
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ORiGiNALLy PUBLiSHED iN LAPiDARy JOURNAL jEWELRy ARTiST, FEBRUARy 2010

CABOcHON, FAcETING, INLAY, SLABBING, TRIM SAW SETUp

5 STONE CUTTING TEcHNIQUEs AND PROJEcTs:


Plus Bonus Dopping Tips

M AT E R I A L s 18-gauge sterling sheet: 2" x 6" .215" x .097" triangle wire: 16" length Medium silver wire solder Ivoryite rough Black nephrite jade rough 1" & 112" wide masking tape 5-minute epoxy Pipe cleaners Acetone Super glue Toothpicks Q-Tips TOOL s
LAPIDARY TOOLS: Lapidary arbor:

Th E M E T A L F O R m
PHOTO 1 Temporarily straighten triangle wire. PHOTO 2 Cut 2 side lengths at 614" (for a 6"

220, 400, 600, 1200 belts or wheels, trim saw, cut-off saw (optional), cerium oxide belt or wheel, at lap, diamond drills in assorted sizes. HAND TOOLS: jewelers saw and blades, les, leather mallet, steel block, bracelet mandrel, small square, dividers, #31 & #48 drill bits, Dremel or rotary tool, medium & ne silicone wheels SOLDERING TOOLS: torch, Solderite pad, pickle pot, ux OTHER TOOLS: polishing station. SOURCEs Most of the tools and materials for this project will be available from well stocked jewelry or lapidary supply vendors.

bracelet) and 2 end pieces that are 1" wide at the top with a bevel that ts the inside of the sides exactly. The bottom will be slightly longer due to the taper of the triangle wire. You can make your bracelet as wide or narrow as you like. Just make sure both end pieces are the same length. The t here is the most difficult part of the metalwork, and extra time spent getting it right will make your piece easy to solder and look good. Straighten and atten the sides with a mallet on a steel block. If the sides are not straight, they will not be parallel, making your channel much harder to inlay, and the result wont look as nice.
PHOTO 3 Cut a piece of 18ga sheet at 2" x 6".

I like to roll-print a design on the inside of the bracelet using patterned brass. Anneal and atten. If you want your signature or hallmark stamp on the bracelet, now is the time to stamp it.
PHOTO 4 Flux all pieces and lay out at on a

Solderite pad. Make sure ends are square.


PHOTO 5 Use medium wire solder to stick-

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INLAiD CUff BY Jeff FUlKeRsoN

solder the triangle wire to the sheet. Always point the ame away from yourself. Feed the solder into the ame from the inside of the piece, and draw the solder along rst on one side of the bracelet and then the other. Ensure the ends get soldered both to the sheet and to the side wires. Try not to get solder on the outside of the triangle wire. Allow to cool before pickling.

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6 7
PHOTO 6 Trim the excess sheet and wire

from the bracelet with a jewelers saw.


PHOTO 7 On a bracelet mandrel, pound the

blank into shape. Make sure it is symmetrical.


PHOTO 8 Go to your lapidary arbor, put a

220-grit belt on, turn on the water, and sand down the excess metal. (You could le the metal by hand, but this is so much easier!) After sanding the edges, switch to a 400-grit belt and go over both the edges and the face of the triangle wire to remove excess solder from the exposed surface. Check the inside of the channel and le away any solder on the top inside edge to ensure the channel will be straight and clean.
PHOTO 9 Use a large triangle le to add

decorative notches along the edge of the bracelet.


PHOTO 10 Patinate the inside of the bracelet

HOW TO POLiSH STONE WiTH CONfiDENCE: 8 TiPS


 RIND WET. Always grind wet to protect your lungs G from breathing in the dust. The dust from some stones, such as malachite, is quite toxic. In addition, wet grinding eliminates damage to expensive diamond wheels. n JUDGE DRY. Although we always grind wet, we recommend that you always dry the stone completely before judging its surface. Water on the stone surface will only hide scratches and give a false reading. n USE THE WHOLE WHEEL. Use the entire width of the grinding wheel, not just the center. This will ensure a longer life and better performance. n SKIP NO GRIT. Work sequentially from the coarsest to the nest grit. Dont be tempted to take a short cut by skipping a grit. The progression through ner and ner grits is necessary to remove the scratches left by the previous grit. The goal is to have the scratches become ner with each grit size until they can no longer be seen. Our experience has been that if you skip a grit, the nal polish will show big scratches. You will wonder where those scratches just came from! The truth is that they were there all the time, but you just didnt sand them out when you were supposed to. If you skip a grit and nd deep scratches, youll have to go back three or four grits to remove them. Its always faster to do it right the rst time.
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and brush it with a brass brush. Polish the bracelet.

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 OLISH SLOW. Polishing is the nal step. There are a P myriad of polish and polishing pad combinations; our preference is charging a soft leather pad with a thin paste of Holy Cow polishing compound and water. The actual polishing occurs as the pad starts to dry and the stone starts to pull against the surface. We keep the speed of the pad low to eliminate any heat buildup. n KEEP IT CLEAN. Remember, cleanliness is next to godliness when it comes to lapidary work. To prevent cross-contamination from coarse grits, we are careful to rinse the stone and our hands at every grit changeand we thoroughly clean our machines after each grinding session. Polishing compounds and wheels should be kept in sealed plastic containers when not in use. n BELIEVE WHAT YOU SEE. Your eyes are your most important tools when it comes to polishing your stone. They are your feedback loop. If your eyes tell you that something is not quite right about the surface, believe them. Stop! Figure out what the problem is before continuing.
n n

 RIND A LITTLE AND LOOK A LOT. This is the G mantra of the successful lapidary.

Tom and Kay Benham, Contributing Editors

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DOTs On ThE SIdE


PHOTO 11 Lay out the dots with dividers and make indents to guide the drill bit. With a #48 bit, drill holes approximately 332" deep. I drilled the middle hole a little larger, with a #31 just to add a little spice. Do not drill all the way through the metal! PHOTO 12 Cut at least twelve 18" x 18" pieces

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of black jade at the trim saw. Well only use 8but youll be glad you have extras. Cut off the pointy ends from 12 round toothpicks and insert into Styrofoam. Mix a small amount of 5-minute epoxy. With tweezers, dip the jade pieces into epoxy and carefully place on the upright end of a toothpick. Repeat for all 12 pieces. Allow at least 30 minutes to cure.
PHOTO 13 After the epoxy has hardened, use

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For clarity, we will call the sides of the stone that touch the metal the ends and the sides that are perpendicular to the metal we will call the sides.
PHOTO 17 Measure and cut a piece of each stone on the trim saw at a little over 12" wide and to the same thickness. I try to use slabs that are about 14" thick so all of my stones start out about the same.

the lapidary arbor with a 220-grit belt to grind corners off the jade. After grinding the rough shape, chuck the toothpick into a handheld rotary tool.
PHOTO 14 With the rotary tool at a medium

PHOTO 16 After youve polished the bracelet, use masking tape to protect the back and sides so you dont get epoxy on them when you start gluing in stones.

to slow speed, run on a wet 220-grit belt to form a slight cone shape from jade. Go slow, and try the cone in the holes until it ts. Take the toothpick out of the rotary tool, dry the jade and hole very well, put a drop of super glue in the hole, and press the jade into the hole. Wipe away excess glue with a paper towel. After a moment, you should be able to push down on the toothpick and gently twist it off, leaving your dot glued into the bracelet. Repeat process for remaining 7 dots.
PHOTO 15 After all the dots are glued in place,

STOnE On TOp
Choose which end of the bracelet youll start with and mark the inside with a felt pen so you wont forget where you are working. I also like to mark the underside of each stone, so I know which side goes where. The rst stone will be half black jade and half white ivoryite.

sand on a 400 grit belt at the arbor until they are ush with the metal. Move to a 600- grit belt and gently go over the areas, then move to a 1200-grit belt and repeat. Dry the bracelet and polish with bobbing compound and then rouge or Zam. Go slowly and dont allow the metal to get too hot.

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PHOTO 18 Square one end of each stone at

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on the at lap.
PHOTO 19 Put a drop of super glue on one end and glue the stones together. If any excess glue runs out of the joint, wipe it off with a paper towel. PHOTO 20 Flatten the side that will go against the end of the metal. Since the bracelet is curved, you must also put a bevel on the sides so each stone will t snug against the adjacent stone. PHOTO 21 Put a straight cut on one end, and

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check the t to see if the side and the end meet the metal with no gaps.
PHOTO 22 Make a slight bevel on the ends,

Choosing Stones for Inlay

so when both ends are tted, there will be a slight wedge to insert into the metal channel. Once you have a good t on the rst side and end, cut the other end down until it ts in the channel with no gaps showing. Go slow. Its much easier to take off a tiny bit 10 times than to cut the stone too small and have to start over with a new piece. Since this section is half jade and half ivoryite, carefully grind each side down evenly. Once you have the two ends and one side tted, cut the remaining side so that parallel. When you have

When you inlay stones, its best to choose stones that are similar in hardness. If you put a soft opal next to a hard agate, when you grind them down, the opal will disappear and you will lose your effect. Nevertheless, you can still use stones of different hardnesses, but youll have to be very careful when cutting or grinding them together. For this project, I choose a black and white color scheme of black nephrite jade, which takes a great polish, and white ivoryite, which is softer, but still takes a good polish. Be careful not to overgrind the ivoryite, as it will cut faster than the jade. Both stones show a little pattern, so the nished product doesnt look like plastic. You may want to use inexpensive stones for your rst attempt. There are many beautiful jaspers that are inexpensive, come in a variety of colors, take a great polish, and are easy to work with.

your shape the way you want it, put a bevel on that side alsoso the next stone will snug against it with no gaps. Since we are making each stone stand alone, polish each piece before installing into the bracelet. Shape the stone with a 400-grit belt on the lapidary arbor, smooth with a 600-grit belt, then move on to 1200.
PHOTO 23 To put dots on this piece, lay out,

without water so it just scratches the smooth surface enough that the 2mm drill will not move when you drill the hole for the dot.
PHOTO 24 Put the stone in a shallow metal dish with a little water, and keep the hole and the drill wet at all times so you dont overheat the stone and crack it. Keep the drill upright for a straight, round hole. Cut the dots as you did for the dots on the sides of the bracelet, remembering to dry everything thoroughly before gluing.

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INLAiD CUff BY Jeff FUlKeRsoN

measure, and drill two 2mm holes using a diamond drill with water. Create a starter hole with the side of a small (.75mm) diamond drill

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M o R E in L A Y p A tt E R ns

Ch E C K E R B O A R d
Cut 4 strips of jade and ivoryite, being extremely careful to make them each exactly 1 4" wide. Glue them together, alternating colors. Square off one end, mark a cutting line at 14", then cut it a little wide of the line at the trim saw. Square the cut side so the piece is a perfect rectangle. I made mine a little deeper than the 14" width. Repeat for the remaining piece, ipping one cut piece over to alternate the colors. Superglue strips together for a checkerboard pattern. When dry, t into the bracelet like all of the other stones.

DIAgOnAL STRIpEs
Cut out 4 strips each of jade and ivoryite, each l 14" wide. Flatten both sides of each strip on the at lap. Dry and superglue the strips together, making sure the tops are all ush. Next, cut a diagonal line across the stripes for the rst side, and use a square to get a perpendicular edge to the rst side. Continue tting from this point like all of the rest of your stones.

DOTs
Dots of various sizes can be used throughout the piece as you see t. I wanted a turquoise dot on the opposite side of the bracelet, so I used a 5mm core drill to create the hole. For a good, clean hole with a core drill, use a scrap stone (I used a piece of old treated turquoise) and drill a hole in it with your core drill to create a drill guide. Then, use double-sided carpet tape to adhere the drill guide to your chosen stone. Put the stone in your water pan, insert the wet core drill, and drill a nice straight hole.I drill all the way through so I wont damage the side of the stone trying to get the core out. Once youve glued the turquoise dot, shape and nish as before.

M E TA L S pA C E R s
I like to put pieces of 18ga metal between the stones to break up the look. Cut a scrap of 18ga into a slight wedge shape and put it against the stone. Scribe the top contour of the stone onto the silver, then cut it out and le it smooth. Hold the silver tightly in parallel jaw pliers and polish the edges. You wont see anything but the edges, so you dont have to worry about polishing the entire piece. Place the metal spacers wherever you like. When you glue in the next stone, put a little glue on the silver, install it, then glue the next stone to butt against the silver instead of the last stone. You can also put silver against the side of a stone if you like. Once again, use your imagination.

R A C I ng S T R I p E s
Cut off about 13 of the stone piece and square up the end. Cut a thin strip of ivoryite, atten one side, and superglue it to the piece. Grind the ivoryite down to a thin line on the end of the jade. Repeat with a thin strip of jade and then another strip of ivoryite. True up the end and glue the rest of your piece of jade onto your stripes. Fit and polish as usual.

In L A I d W I R E
If you want to inlay silver wire into your stone, drill the appropriate size hole, superglue the wire onto the hole, snip it off, and grind it down on the 400 grit wheel, then polish.

D O T s w I T h S I Lv E R O U T L I n E s
Dots can also be created with silver tubing and then lled with another color stone, much like the dots on the metalwork. To glue in silver tubing, drill a hole the size of your tubing, cut off a very short piece of tubing and superglue it into the stone. Grind down the tubing ush with the stone on the 400 grit wheel. Cut a dot to t inside the tubing and glue it in position. Finish dot as for the others.

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PHOTO 25 Repeat for second dot. Grind dots down on a 600-grit belt. When both dots are smooth, move to the 1200-wheel and polish with the cerium oxide wheel. Epoxy the rst stone and position in the bracelet. PHOTO 26 Put a generous amount of epoxy in the bottom of the channel and a small amount on the sides of the metal. PHOTO 27 Install the stone, making sure it is positioned correctly and not ipped end to endremember your mark on the bottom?

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Gently push the stone into the channel, and use the toothpick to remove excess glue. Make sure the small gap between the metal and the bottom of the stone is lled with glue, so the nished piece will be supported. Set aside at an angle so that the glue will stay where you want it. Allow the glue to set about 5 minutes.
PHOTO 28 Before the glue completely

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hardens, use a craft knife to clean up the side of the stone and the metal channel to prepare for the next stone. You can now start forming your next stone (see More Inlay Patterns sidebar). As you work on stone 2, the epoxy will completely harden, and you can proceed along the entire bracelet following the process of creating a stone to inlay, gluing it into position, and allowing the glue to dry as you create the next stone. Follow the design suggestions that follow to create your own stone order and unique cuff.

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ends. The nal side must t nicely into the slot. Epoxy as before, being sure to let any excess epoxy ooze out as you install the stone. Clean up excess glue and let it set for at least half an hour. Remove protective masking tape.
PHOTO 31 Use a silicone wheel to

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2 SECRETS TO GOOD GLUiNG

When inlaying a wider stone, curve the top to conform to the curve of the bracelet. For fancy stones, the basics are still the same, just make sure you give all of your stones a little curve on the top, or it will be difficult to get a good polish on them.
PHOTO 29 Remove dried glue from the

1. EQUAL PARTS GLUE AND HARDENER. Use the exact same amount for both the glue and the hardener. If anything, use a tiny bit more hardener. 2.MIX WELL. Once you think you have mixed well, mix it a little more. I cut off the pointed end of a toothpick and use it as both a stir stick and an applicator. I put a piece of wide masking tape on my bench and mix the epoxy on that. You can check the curing of the epoxy by touching the toothpick to the leftover puddle of glue on the tape. When the masking tape becomes covered with dried epoxy, I pull if off my bench and and put a new piece down.

stones and bracelet with a cotton swab dipped in acetone.


PHOTO 30 Once you have cut, polished, and inserted all of your stones, the last stone must t on all 4 sides. Go slowly. This is the hardest stone to inlay, because it must t perfectly. Start on one side, then do both

clean up bracelet, being careful not to hit any of the ivoryiteit is very soft and you dont want to ruin all of your hard work. It wont matter if you hit the jade. Final polish the metal. I tape off the stones, because the ivoryite will pick up the polish compound and turn dark.

JEFF FULKERSON started making jewelry at age 16. His teachers include Michael Cheatham, Richard Tsosie, and Jesse Monongya. He has won numerous awards and has taught silversmithing classes over the years, including summer classes at the San Diego Museum of Man. Jeff lives in San Diegos East County with his wife and has 3 sons.
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Successful Slabbing
The key is clamping the stone securely
BY StepHeN TaNeY

love to saw stone. Every cut reveals a section that no one has ever seen. But getting to that point has some challenges. Have you purchased a diamond saw and noticed there are no directions on how to use it? I searched my lapidary books and some websites and found there wasnt much information on clamping stones in the saw for slabbing. Speed of the blade in RPM, feed rate of material into the spinning blade, coolants, yesbut not much on holding the rough, and holding the work is a critical part of any task, as I learned in machine shop schooling. So Ive decided to pass along some techniques Ive adapted from machining for slabbing stone with a diamond saw.

is the biggest reason for premature diamond blade failure. Thermal shock occurs when there are sudden or dramatic changes in temperature, which cause the diamonds to shatter. On a microscopic level, there is enough heat (over 400 degrees in some cases) and pressure at the interface to boil off water-based coolants. Boiling water creates steam and pressure that will force the liquid out, which is then replaced suddenly with room temperature liquid that will then fracture the diamond crystal. Oil based coolants are designed to wet the interface even under these harsh conditions. For saws 10" and above, oil based coolant is recommended. The coolant depth should cover about 12" of the lower saw blade edge in the coolant reservoir. The blade will then drag this liquid up, over, and into the kerf, cooling the cut and ushing out the stone dust.

KERF is the width of a slit made by a cutting tool. For stone, it is the amount of material being removed when grinding through the rough material. The term is also used for sawing metal, wood, paper, plastic, or any other material.

BLAdEs
The saw blade is a disc of metal with diamond grit bonded to the outside edge. The method of attachment and amount of grit varies by manufacturer. The size of the blade is given in diameter, the blade thickness (in thousandths of inches), and the arbor size. For example, 18" x .064" x 34" means the blade is 18" in diameter, has a kerf of .064" (approximately 116"), and ts on a 34" shaft. Technically, diamond blades arent really saw bladestheyre thin grinding wheels. In conventional sawing, blades remove a chip of material, as in a woodworking saw. Some of the heat generated by this action is carried away from the blade through the chip, which is why a coolant is so important. Under normal conditions, diamond fractures in a predictable pattern as the cutting surface wears. The crystal breaks away and reveals a new cutting edge or crystal to resume abrading a surface. Thermal shock
ORiGiNALLy PUBLiSHED iN LAPiDARy JOURNAL jEWELRy ARTiST, NOVEMBER 2009

VIsE
A vise is made up of a few elements that work together to hold a stone securely while its being fed into the rotating saw blade. The vise is made up of two clamping surfaces, a bearing surface that the vise moves on, and the feed mechanism. The clamping surfaces should be covered with plywood 12" to 34" thick to help in gripping the rough stone. These wooden pieces will need periodic replacement. If there are no wooden pieces on the vise, a shifting stone could fracture, and a small section could break free of the clamping vise. This is usually disastrous for a saw blade, because shards can become trapped against the blade, or jammed, and it may bend, break, or freeze
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the motor. The added wood faces will provide a soft but resilient surface to continue gripping the rock even in the case of a fracture. Take some measurements of your vise; these will tell you the maximum size of material that will t in your particular saw. Line up the vise with the middle of the saw blade. Measure from the base of the vise to the top of the saw blade: this is the maximum height of rough that can safely be cut in the saw. Next, slide open the movable jaw vise to the maximum opening and engage the ratchet or feed nut and verify that the cover can close: this is the maximum length of the rough you can saw. Write these numbers down for future reference, and take them with you when looking for rough. The movable jaw of the vise allows for rapid movement by means of a disconnecting nut,

or a ratchet and a ner adjustment by means of a hand screw. Maximum clamping force is attained when the jaws are working parallel to each other. This is not an issue if the length of stone being cut is large enough to go beyond the center pivot point of the vise jaw, but many times this is not the case. The movable jaw can pivot right and left to allow for holding irregular surfaces. A small amount of tilt to the jaws is acceptable, but try and keep them as close to parallel as possible.

touch the work. Engage the ratchet and gently tighten with the hand screw. The point where the stone touches the jaws rst must stay within the clamping surface. Adjust the stone as necessary. Youll want to clamp the largest diameter of the stone rst, supplementing with additional clamping area to overcome the forces of the saw. Look for any spaces where you can add smaller blocks of wood to support the work
(FIGURE 1).

M A K I ng T h E C U T
Pull the carriage toward the front of the saw and free of the blade, ready to feed into but not touching the blade. Place the stone in the vise with the largest and attest face toward the solid part of the vise and overhang the rock to cut. Advance the movable jaw to just

Loosen and retighten the vise, and give the piece a rm pull to see if there is any movement of the stone. If it shifts, loosen the vise and add more wood shims where you saw movement. This can take some time but is worth the effort to prevent damage to the saw blade. When you no longer detect any movement, youre ready to cut. If the rough has a sloped surface, the edge of the saw may deect. Continuing to cut when this happens will damage the saw blade (FIGURE 2). To detect and prevent this, start the saw and listen for the blade to begin cutting. Time the cut for about 30 seconds. Stop the saw, disengage the carriage, pull the assembly away, and then start to cut again. This time, wait a little longer. Stop and repeat.

1 2
Saw vise

Saw vise

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Feed of stone to saw blade

Saw Deflection

Rough stone stone

Rough

This approach works because the edge of the saw blade is rounded and is cutting a rounded surface. At some point, the saw is cutting only on one half of the edge of the bladeforcing it to one side. Not until the blade edge has penetrated the stone enough to a depth where the blade is cutting on its full surface will the deection stop (FIGURES 3 & 4).

Stone

R E p O s I T I O n I ng R O U gh
Often, youll need to reposition the rough at some time. Trying to align and reclamp a stone so the next slab is parallel to a previous cut is always a challenge and will come with experience. Short pieces of 2x4 lumber are invaluable to have in the lapidary shop to help with this problem. I keep them around to glue to my end cuts.

Thesaw saw blade The willhave have the the will tendency to to follow tendency follow the path of least the path of least resistance. resistance.

Blade Blade Stone

Saw

Stone

Stone

Equal force
SUCCESSfUL SLABBiNG BY StepHeN TaNeY

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This method works if the remaining piece is small enough. The at surface area of the last slab becomes the reference point for the next step. Originally, I had used epoxy for the strength of the adhesive, but then I couldnt remove that last slab without damaging it. So instead, I use tan, water soluble wood glue for an adhesive. This type of glue is not affected by the oil-based coolant, and when Im done the block can be soaked in a bucket of water to remove the last section of stone. Before gluing, clean the stone surface with acetone and a fresh paper towel to remove all the cutting oil. Then, add a generous amount of glue to the clean surface. Set the pieces on a level surface; otherwise, the stone will slip out of place. No clamping is needed because the weight of the stone is enough to hold it in position. Allow at least 24 hours for the glue to set. If the 4" side of the 2x4 is clamped in the vise, an additional 2x4 will act as a counterpiece to keep the jaws parallel (FIGURE 5). Once you get the hang of it, both sides of a 2x4 can act as a gluing surface (FIGURE 6).

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blocks are a pair of steel blocks that have matching steps cut in them for creating small changes in height (FIGURES 7 & 8). Step blocks can be used in varying orientations and come in many sizes, making them a very versatile tool. They can be purchased as sets where machine shop supplies are sold (which also makes them expensive), but if you are lucky, you can trade some of your lapidary projects for them at a small machine shop. As a former machinist, I know these blocks are always hanging around. I have even traded some cut geodes in return for machining a shaft for my saw. Most machinists are quite approachable and knowledgeable about repairing or adapting

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machinery, so check around. Sometimes I do see these blocks on auction sites, but not very often.

C R E A T I ng C U s T O m F O R ms
Occasionally, I might want to cut rough at an extreme angle or get a specic pattern out of it. Once, I wanted to cut a limb section of petried wood into matching pieces. I needed an angle cut at about 60 degrees from the center axis to show off the growth rings, which made using the vise impractical. To make cuts such as these, I often cast pieces in plaster of Paris, using a recycled box as a form. Then I can position the rough in many different orientations.

C L A mp I ng w I T h S T E p BLOCKs
Sometimes a more exible clamping method for odd sized pieces is needed. This is where step blocks are used, which machinists use when the table vise is not practical. Step

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SUCCESSfUL SLABBiNG BY StepHeN TaNeY

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First, make sure the box can t into the vise with the cover closed. Next, tape the outside seams of the box to keep the plaster from oozing out. Tape the closing aps down and out of the way. Place the stone inside in the same orientation in which it will be cut (FIGURE 9), and shim it with small pieces of scrap stone as needed to hold it in position and keep it from shifting while the plaster is setting up. Ensure there is 34" to 1" all around the stone for adequate support during sawing. Mark the inside of the box with a marker to show the direction of the saw cutits easy to forget while the plaster cures. Estimate the amount of plaster and mix it according to the manufacturers directions. The plaster mix is heavy, so pour it along one edge of the box to avoid hitting the stone and disturbing the position. Dont be alarmed if you didnt mix enough plasteranother batch can be poured right on top of a previous mix without any separation of layers. Cover the rough to about 34 of its height; covering the stone completely is not necessary Tap the outside of the box lightly to help dislodge any trapped air bubbles. Let the casting cure overnight, and transfer the orientation markings from the box to the top of the casting. Cutdont tearthe box free from the casting, because the plaster is not completely cured yet. Set the casting on a concrete oor (such as a basement) if you have one to help draw out the excess water. After a few days (the exact number will depend on the humidity), the plaster will cure and dry out completely. Then its ready to be cut (FIGURE 10). The plaster surrounding the rough will either fall away or be crumbled off as you slab. STEPHEN TANEY has been stonecutting for more than 15 years. Bringing out the natural beauty of a stone is one of the things he loves most about his work. He holds a BFA in sculpture from the University of Massachusetts, Amhers.

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